- 29 Mar 23
If the confidence motion fails, the Dáil may be dissolved tonight, resulting in new elections in April.
Today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar moved a motion reaffirming confidence in his Government. In his speech, he defended the current coalition as "a good Government" and dismissed the no-confidence motion by the Labour Party. The Labour's motion was announced a few weeks ago as a threat in connection with the lifting of the eviction ban.
Varadkar said the Labour‘s motion is "profoundly disingenuous" since it could lead to a dissolving of the Dáil tonight. As a result, the country would return to the polls in April. However, Varadkar said, the eviction ban would still be ended on 31st March.
Confident that the current government can "do more and do better," Varadkar told the Dáil: "I am conscious that this motion was triggered by a motion of no confidence from the Labour Party related to the housing shortage."
"I believe the housing crisis cuts so deep because it offends our sense of fairness, our fundamental belief in what Government is for and what it should do."
Mentioning that housing is a human right, the Taoiseach continued: „Family homelessness, in particular, shakes our faith in our Republic which is founded on the idea that all children should be cherished equally. Solving the housing crisis is, therefore, one of the greatest political challenges of our time and an imperative."
Labour’s motion is a farce. Here are the facts:
✅ Major strides on workers’ rights, including minimum wage and sick leave
✅ Highest life expectancy in the EU
✅ Reducing cost of childcare, healthcare, school, and college
✅ Ireland consistently ranked in top 10 or 20 countries pic.twitter.com/brzfAJB3j5
— Fine Gael (@FineGael) March 29, 2023
Despite the rising numbers in homelessness, Varadkar said that progress is being made due to the social housing delivery in the last years and the increasing number of first-time buyers in the country.
The Taoiseach continued by criticising the "performative anger“ of no-confidence motions, adding that it would be „disingenuous“ to claim the Labour motion was about the rights of renters.
"If the opposition is successful in winning this vote, it would mean Dáil Éireann would be dissolved tonight. There’d be an election in April sometime, the Dáil would not meet until May and it might well be into the summer before we’d have an elected Government," he said.
"The eviction moratorium would lapse on March 31 anyway and no new primary legislation could be passed to deal with the housing crisis for several months."
"Knowing this, it is profoundly disingenuous to claim that the Labour motion was about renters’ rights or people facing homelessness. It is about competition – competition for attention - on the opposition benches."
Fact: No government in the lives of most people in Ireland today has ever been as committed to social housing than this one. That matters. pic.twitter.com/I5ZWXrtb0s
— Fine Gael (@FineGael) March 29, 2023
Since the Minister of social protection, Heather Humphreys served in a coalition government with Labour between 2011 and 2016 she said she was "disappointed" with the party.
"I'd be genuinely disappointed if what we are seeing now is the start of Labour going down the populist road of political opportunism and grandstanding because I can tell you one thing, if Labour are trying to take on Sinn Féin when it comes to political opportunism, it would be a race to the bottom and a race that you will lose," she said.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald defends the allegations, saying the government has accused Fianna Fail and Fine Gael of making "disastrous decisions" on housing.
"On your watch, we have gone from housing crisis to housing emergency to housing disaster.The policies you have implemented together over the course of the last decade have brought us to where we are today."
"You followed an agenda that explicitly transferred to the private market, the responsibilities of Government to deliver housing for our people."
"Instead of building housing, you poured billions into the private rental market," she continued.
It's time for change. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have had their chance and they have failed. We need a general election, the sooner, the better.
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) March 29, 2023
After Taoiseach Leo Varadkar labelled the Labour‘s motion as "political theatrics", party leader Ivana Bacik said: "You spent more time lambasting Labour than you have setting out what you say Government has achieved on housing, and yet you're accusing us in opposition of politicising housing."
"Your conservative coalition is not working. It's all spin and no substance and failing the people of Ireland. This catastrophic failure in housing delivery lies at the fault of government and it's a failure of ideology," she added.
Labour leader @ivanabacik outlining the many failures in housing under this Government.
This conservative coalition is not working. It’s all spin and no substance.
We are demanding an extension of the eviction ban to protect renters.
— The Labour Party (@labour) March 29, 2023